Ynon Deutsch, PhD student


Ynon Deutsch- Jointly supervised with Dr. David Ezra‎,
Department of Plant Pathology & Weed Research, ARO The volcani center.

Registered as a student in the Department of Marine Biology, Leon H. Charney School of Marine Sciences, University of Haifa.

Title of PhD project: Endophytes from algae for use in biological control of pathogens and pests in aquaculture.

Project description:

Endophytes are micro-organisms that live inside the plant (e.g. algae) tissue without causing external symptoms. The plant provides a living niche and food for the endophytes while the endophytes provide protection against pathogens, pests and induce tolerance to abiotic and biotic stresses. Some endophytes produce and secrete biologically active compounds that prevent bacteria, fungi and pests from harming the host plant.
Diseases are a major and influential harmful factor in the aquaculture industry. Chemical pesticides and antibiotics are widely used in order to cope with pathogens and pests. Currently, the ability to deal with disease outbreaks of different types in aquaculture is very limited.
Our aim is to exploit this capability of the endophytes, by isolating and characterizing endophytes with significant biological activity, from fresh and sea water macro-algae, and use them and their secondary metabolites to control pathogens and pests in aquaculture.

We have isolated endophytes from several Mediterranean seaweeds and fresh water algae, and found many to have biological activity against known and common aquaculture pathogens.

We have introduced some of those active; GFP labeled, endophytes back into their origin host (Fig 1). Our aim is to track and study their localization, interactions with other microorganisms in the algae (microbiome) and to examine their ability to survive and produce the biologically active compounds in the algae.

In addition, we are examining the possible use of the endophytes’ active compounds (by using analytical chemistry methods) for control of aquaculture diseases.

Figure 1. Active, GFP labeled endophyte introduced into an alga ‎‎(Ulva sp.). Bright field image shows alga’s cells (A). Green ‎fluorescence filter shows the endophyte in between alga’s cells (B). ‎